Biff Bam Pop reader and occasional contributor Leiki caught Sunday nights Emmy Awards from Australia, where she’s currently working on a new film. Here’s her take on television’s most glamorous night…or is it?
Award shows are pretty similar to each other. The Oscars are the biggest, and the Globes have an open bar, but otherwise, there’s a lot of the same stuff. Same red carpet questions, same people, same speeches. Critics of award shows think they should be spectacular and every review has this underwhelmed meh to it, but it’s designed to give out a large number of awards. There’s less room for funny in that task than you might think. At the Emmys Sunday night, when the last speech was played off with music, even host Jimmy Kimmel sputtered at the crowd’s negative reaction, “you guys want to stay for another hour?” But the funny that does happen, sticks out. More on this in a moment.
What To Wear
Some people find the very idea of awards shows ridiculous. When you’re trying to balance your household budget, or get baby food stains out of work clothes, watching stars celebrated for a job that earns them more money than they know what to do with may not exactly rank high on your priorities. While in your pj’s, do you care what the answer is to the question, “Who are you wearing?” I do. Not because I care about, nor have any particular fashion sense, but because of the pressure of that question. The dress or tux is free, either for keeps, or on loan for the night, by a very popular designer. In the fashion world, people like Monique Lhuillier don’t need added press, but it’s a feather in their cap to have Ginnifer Goodwin wearing one of their creations on such a prominent platform. Bragging rights, if you will. Some will strain on the pronunciation of said prolific designer but occasionally, if you’re lucky, in the spotlight of their 45 second live TV interview, they forget altogether. Panicked, they look to their spouse, then to their publicist. They panic because they get to wear an unimaginably expensive dress for the mere mention of the designers’ name. Seems simple, right? It’s amusing. Nerves + live tv is exciting. The potential for flubs, a crack in the glossy veneer, a “they’re just like us” moment when they don’t think a camera is on them, is very high. A live red carpet show is the best reality show and I wish it was eligible to compete in the Reality Programming category at the Emmys themselves. I don’t have ill will towards these actors, of course, that would be malicious. But it’s bound to happen to someone and that keeps my eyes glued to the screen. Who is naturally funny, who looks damn good, who let their kids pick their dress (this actually happens), who gets starstruck and who will forget to introduce their spouse in an interview? These are things that distract me from my life for one evening.
The Red Carpet Interview
As an interviewer on the carpet, they have to be prepared for whomever is willing to chat to them. They have to know nominees from presenters, a bit about the nominated show, what the hype is, but also about them personally, their spouses, children, etc. They sometimes ask an actor whose character was recently killed off if they’re excited about the upcoming season, or if they’re enjoying their first nomination when they’ve been up for the award twice before. They don’t always know and it’s odd to watch a well-known celebrity correct someone on their own show. In the case where they don’t know jack about the person, they rely on such generic comments and questions as “how did you prepare for tonight?” or “who are you excited to see?” or “you are in good company in your category”. This comment in particular sets up the very humble actor to graciously talk about how lucky they are to be nominated at all, be in such esteemed company, excited to be there, blah, blah, blah. Some semblance of that is often expressed in acceptance speeches. Humility is not optional, it’s a requirement, otherwise you look like an ass and nobody wants you to win. But generic comments aren’t always a slam dunk. A few years ago at the Globes, Maria Menounos was placed backstage, talking to winners the very overwhelming nanosecond after they finished accepting their award. Some idiot thought it would make for good sound bites. She asked America Ferrera, who had given one of the most touching and eloquent speeches, “What do you say to all those people out there who did not want you to play Ugly Betty?” Clearly she was hoping for a positive, ‘good things come to those who work their asses’ off declaration. Instead, the actress looked confused, the euphoric look quickly falling from her face. “I don’t know” she replied, “I don’t know who they are”. Bewildered, deflated and insulted, mere seconds after the highlight of her career so far. Whoops. You can watch that moment here
To that end, here are my celebrity suggestions to surviving an awards show.
On the carpet:
– Smile, be happy, but humble. Nobody likes a smug or complain’y celebrity. Every celebrity who complained about the heat on the Emmy carpet got a snarl from me in my living room.
– Remember who gave you your dress/tux, shoes and jewellery. Rehearse their names in the car. Over and over again.
– Assume you are always on camera
During the awards:
– Never roll your eyes or give your spouse the “I told you she’d win” when you don’t (I’m looking at you Mayim Bialik)
– Realize how privileged you are to be there. A lot can happen to your career in a year, you may not be invited next time (coughLindsayLohancough)
– If you win, thank in no particular order:
1) Your manager/agent/publicist/lawyer – who got you the job
2) Your director – who didn’t fire you from the job (and directed you to a win)
3) Your real life spouse – who didn’t leave you despite the hours that come with the job (if single, include parents/siblings)
4) Also your on-screen spouse. Despite thanking the entire cast, the camera sat on Julie Bowen’s on-screen spouse Ty Burrell for most of her speech though she didn’t end up mentioning him specifically. It seems like a good production decision to try to catch that heartfelt aw-shucks reaction, but when it doesn’t happen – awkward! When she replays her win later, she’ll notice too and feel all the worse for the implication that she doesn’t appreciate him most of all.
But back to the funny. Sunday night’s Emmys, like all awards shows, felt endless. Here’s what stood out.
– Jimmy Kimmel had his parents escorted out of the theater for telling him he could do anything he set his mind to. He felt they were wrong to mislead him. They didn’t seem in on the joke, but were clearly used to and amused by his antics.
– Tracy Morgan pretended to pass out on stage, tricking twitterers who weren’t already watching when urged to tweet that Tracy had passed out at the Emmys. Chuckle.
– Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger both won awards proving they are alive and kicking! Gen Y is wondering who these old dudes are.
– Ricky Gervais can do no wrong. Don’t send me hate mail, you will not dissuade me. He’s brilliant at making fun of himself and his audience and should host every awards show until he dies. The end.
– Julia Louis-Dreyfus pretended to accidentally switch acceptance speeches with Amy Poehler, thanking her tv network, kids, etc. Pause as Amy runs up to trade back. Super cute.
– Those genuine reactions of those who did not expect to win. Jon Cryer, whose first words were, “There’s been a terrible mistake” and Aaron Paul, whose eyes bugged out in shock the entire time.
– Standing ovation for Michael J Fox, who makes us all feel like we should be doing a bit more with our lives.
– The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won it’s 10th consecutive award, which Jon felt the Emmys owed him a free sandwich. Fair enough.
The Emmy’s can be a very clear indication of what shows you should be watching. When 4 of the 6 nominated in the supporting actor in a Comedy category are from one show, it’s a good bet you should be watching that show. It’s called “Modern Family” on ABC (5 wins). You should also be watching Showtime’s “Homeland” (best actress, actor, writing and outstanding drama among it’s 6 wins) and HBO’s TV movie “Game Change” (5 wins including one for Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin). A full list of winners can be found with other pics/vids here).
Mark your calendars. Golden Globes are Sunday, January 13, 2013. Oscar nominations are two days later and the Academy Awards air soon after on Sunday, February 24th.